My in-laws live on a farm, and one of their horses loves llamas. For as long as I’ve known him he’s had the same llama companion. But last year the llama died. And my daughter asked where he went.
My mother-in-law didn’t know what to tell her. When she told me about this and asked me what I thought she should say, I was staring at a few bookshelves full of children’s books. Animals. Potty training. Imagination. Feelings. Lots of different topics. Lots of different purposes. Letters. Numbers. First words. And others. But none about death or dying.
And as I thought about it, it never occurred to me to buy books for her on the topic. Why would I? Why read a book about death or dying to a kiddo? They don’t need to be exposed to that. Do they? Should death be something that we only talk about in times of grief?
One of our dogs died last year. And so did a grandparent. So why not talk about death? In not talking about it do I just perpetuate it as a sort-of taboo concept? Maybe reading about it from an early age encourages thinking about it more deeply and relating to it differently.
Maybe she’ll have a richer understanding and vocabulary for coping with it when she inevitably does confront it. I don’t know. But I don’t think that death or dying as concepts ought to be avoided even if they seem untimely.
4 thoughts on “Death and Dying”
In my view, death is fundamental to life and I would always answer a child’s questions about death as honestly as I could. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Thanks for your comment! I agree. I highly recommend a book called ‘Cry, Heart, But Never Break,’ which is a great book for kids that frames death as fundamental to life. Also check out the list of children’s books about death on brainpickings: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/03/23/best-childrens-books-death-grief-mourning/. There are some wonderful titles.
Thank you. I will check those out.